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NUS Law Commencement Ceremony 2013

The Commencement Ceremony 2013, which took place on 11 July, marks a new beginning for almost 400 graduates from NUS Law, as they embark on a journey to build their respective careers and future.

Much like the graduates before them, the class of 2013, their family and friends set the University Cultural Centre abuzz with excitement, as each went about snapping photos with schoolmates and lecturers, the lively banter, and the grabbing of graduation souvenirs. After years of studying together, it was obvious that their spirit of camaraderie and the friendships they have built here will continue beyond graduation. Theirs was also the first class to set up a book prize before graduation, in a bid to help future students in need.

Here’s a walk down memory lane seen through the eyes of Bryan Fang ’13, based on his valedictory speech:

“We all realise the importance of academic results and that each of us was, by virtue of being in the same cohort, in competition for the best of them. But, despite this backdrop, there was never once where I felt that, as a class, we had placed the matter of grades ahead of our peers. While I may not have had the opportunity to get to know all of you, I have always found those whom I have interacted with to be generous with their knowledge, enthusiastic in our discussions and, above all, respectful of the opinions of others.

There are plenty of experiences which will be fondly remembered like our Orientation Camp, IFGs, time on exchange programme, the recent Farewell Dinner and, of course, the fantastic Law IV production which showcased how variously talented and deeply committed this batch really is.

But, beneath these experiences, we will also remember the constant demands which were placed on us as students almost every day of every semester of every year since we sat together for that first Tort lecture in Year 1.

Indeed, our years here have since been marked by countless assignments, deadlines, lengthy reading lists, and the stresses of exams, all of which did take its toll on us from time to time. And so, while we leave law school with plenty of fond memories, let us also cherish the times of difficulty we had, for these are the experiences that make today special and puts us in good stead for the workplace tomorrow.

As your peer, I cannot pretend to have any greater knowledge of what life in practice will be like. And so, the few points which I will go on to make should not be thought of as advice, but simply reminders which I hope resonate sufficiently with you to be carried into your working lives.

A scene from the Law IV musical.Firstly, if you would cast your mind back to Year 1, you will no doubt remember this classic jurisprudential question – ‘What is the meaning of law?’ A slightly different question, I feel, is rather more suited to this occasion as we reflect on how our perspectives have matured during the course of our studies and it is this – ‘What does the law mean to us?’

From one perspective, we may see the law simply as a job, a way by which we earn our keep and sustain our lifestyles. But, even as the law begins to resemble more of a business, let us not lose sight of the fact that, ultimately, the law is in the business of doing justice. And, as practitioners of the law, our endeavour should then be to ensure, in what little ways we can, that justice is made accessible to all who seek it and not just to those who can afford it.
It is often claimed that the law is a noble profession, but the truth is that there is nothing inherently noble about the law itself. Its nobility depends not on mere assertions, but on the meaningful deeds of the people who practise it and so I hope that, with time, the actions of this batch will show that we are worthy of the legal profession and of its ideals.

Secondly, I would also like to remind all of us that just as first principles are important in law, so too are they in life. Though our principles or value systems may have been variously shaped by religion, family upbringing, individual life experiences or otherwise, I believe we share a common understanding that it is the simple virtues of hard work, honesty and humility which have taken us this far.
We should always remember that we can look to our principles as our best guides, and as long as we stand by them and do the best that we can, then I am confident that we will have little to fear and can emerge proud of how we have accounted for ourselves as lawyers.
In my years here, I have come to know many of you and have learnt that your passions range over a wide spectrum from politics and social work to theatre and music, from entrepreneurship and fashion design to activities such as endurance sports, baking and photography. The degree scroll in our hands today opens a door for us, but it need not close all others. And so, even as we begin our careers in law, I hope that each of us will not lose the passion in our different interests and, for those who feel strongly enough about those interests, that you will have the courage of your convictions to pursue your happiness.

Class of 2013, with that, I congratulate you on this special day, wish you all the best in your future endeavours, and thank you for your friendship and the memories which I shall long cherish. Thank you.”

 LLB Class of 2013 LLM Class of 2013  

Click here to see the full collection of photos.

Farewell Dinner photos



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